#City & Town Planning
California Legislature and State Fire Marshall
California, USA

Adding a sprinkler system to new residential construction is one of 2400 code changes proposed to be made to the International Building Code (I.R.C.) to go into effect January 1, 2011. This code changes seems particularly unreasonable at a time when the California housing industry is at such a low.

California has mandated all 58 counties adopt the new I.R.C. prior to January 1, 2011. Other states legislators from Georgia to Texas have passed bills overriding this sprinkler system requirement. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has calculated the survival rate in homes with working smoke detectors (alarms) is 99.41 percent and with a sprinkler system added the survival rate rises to 99.6 percent. Popular Mechanics article.

It is estimated by the California Building Industry Association that the cost of a sprinkler system will add approximately $8,000 - $12,000 to the price of a new home which is served by a municipal domestic water system. If existing plan requirements are not adequate a larger meter could cost an additional $15,000. The cost for an approved sprinkler system on a new rural residence using a domestic water well could cost between $10,000 and $20,000 because of water storage and pump requirements.

The high cost to install the sprinkler systems really does not result in a significant increase in survival rates. This over zealous mandate will exaggerate an already depressed housing market and will undoubtedly hinder a much needed California state economic recovery.

If the insurance industry, in combination with the NFPA, want to save more homes from fires there needs to be “mandated” local fire agency inspections of working, properly installed smoke alarms and “mandated” inspections to enforce 100 foot fuel reduction (brush clearing) around existing and new residences. These measures would be cost effective, embraced by the building industry, and in line with everyone’s desire to see a possible revival in the very depressed new housing market in California.

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We, the undersigned, believe California should follow the legislatures of Texas, Georgia, and others in passing legislation to overturn this mandatory fire sprinkler requirement.

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The Repeal the I.R.C. requirement to make fire sprinklers mandatory in new homes petition to California Legislature and State Fire Marshall was written by Dave Long and is in the category City & Town Planning at GoPetition.